Two of the contenders in the mens race have pulled due to illness and injury. Brent McMahon, who twice finished 3rd in Maui, is recovering from a bug that left him unable to trail and thus unprepared for the rigors of the challenge and Hector Guerra, the XTERRA European Tour Champion, suffered a grade 2 sprain and bone edema in his ankle at XTERRA England on September 8 that will keep him out of the line-up.
"Because of this it would be impossible to enjoy Maui so I have decided to wait until 2014 to fight for the title of XTERRA World Champion," wrote Guerra. "I'm disappointed because XTERRA has been the best thing that ever happened to me in sports, but trust that I will continue to enjoy it next year."
In the women's race there are two notable first-timers in Maui racing, a pair of Olympians with Flora Duffy from Bermuda and Nicky Samuels from New Zealand.
Duffy, a 2x Olympian who recently graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a degree in sociology, has been injured (stress fracture) for much of the year and hasn't done much racing but did manage a 6th-place finish in her first-ever XTERRA at the Mountain Championship in July.
Samuels, a 30-year-old from Wanaka comes to Maui with some big credentials. This year she won the XTERRA Motatapu off-road tri in March and the 5150 in Columbia (USA) and was second at St. Anthony’s and Boulder 5150s. She was the 2012 World Aquathon Champ, NZ Road Race Cycling Champ, and ITU World Cup Tongeyong Champ, and in 2011 won the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon and ITU World Cup Mooloolaba.
There are 10 Olympians in the pro race. Nicky and Flora mentioned above, who raced in London (35th and 45th respectively), plus Barbara Riveros who was 17th. Helena Erbenova, the two-time XTERRA European Tour Champ, is a Winter Olympic veteran - placing 29th in the Double Pursuit back in 2006, and Julie Dibens competed in the 2004 games.
For the men we have 3x Olympian Olivier Marceau (best finish was 7th in Sydney), two-time Olympians Conrad Stoltz (who led off the bike in Sydney), and Courtney Atkinson, plus Richard Murray and Leonardo Chacon. Murray, Atkinson, and Chacon placed 17th, 18th, and 48th, respectively, in London last year.
Here's a look at the updated start list:
THE ELITE MEN
MEN’S PRO START LIST (Alpha by Country)
AUSTRALIA: Ben Allen, Courtney Atkinson
BELGIUM: Kris Coddens, Yeray Luxem, Jim Thijs
BRAZIL: Felipe Moletta, Bruno Silva
COSTA RICA: Leonardo Chacon
CZECH: Jan Francke, Jan Kubicek
FRANCE: Francois Carloni, Brice Daubord, Marvin Gruget, Nico Lebrun
GERMANY: Dennis Kruse, Felix Schumann
GREAT BRITAIN: Asa Shaw, Richard Stannard
ITALY: Fabio Guidelli
NEW ZEALAND: Braden Currie
SOUTH AFRICA: Dan Hugo, Richard Murray, Conrad Stoltz
SPAIN: Ruben Ruzafa
SWITZERLAND: Olivier Marceau
USA: Brian Astell, Grant Bovee, Chris Ganter, Ryan Ignatz, Andy Lee, Kyle Leto, Jason Michalak, Josiah Middaugh, Branden Rakita, Will Ross, Tim Snow, Adam Wirth
Past XTERRA World Champs in Bold
THE ELITE WOMEN
WOMEN’S PRO START LIST (Alpha by Country)
AUSTRALIA: Tamara Donelson
AUSTRIA: Carina Wasle
BERMUDA: Flora Duffy
BRAZIL: Laura Mira Dias
CANADA: Katie Button, Brandi Heisterman, Christine Jeffrey, Danelle Kabush, Melanie McQuaid, Chantell Widney
CHILE: Barbara Riveros
CZECH: Helena Erbenova
DENMARK: Nienke Oostra
GERMANY: Kathrin Muller
GREAT BRITAIN: Julie Dibens, Daz Parker, Lesley Paterson, Jacqui Slack
ITALY: Genziana Cenni
JAPAN: Mieko Carey
MEXICO: Dunia Gomez
NEW ZEALAND: Sarah Backler, Elizabeth Orchard, Nicky Samuels
SOUTH AFRICA: Carla Van Huyssteen
SWITZERLAND: Renata Bucher
USA: Caroline Colonna, Emma Garrard, Heather Jackson, Suzie Snyder, Shonny Vanlandingham
Past XTERRA World Champs in Bold
XTERRA WORLDS QUICK FACTS
WHAT IS XTERRA: The world’s premier off-road triathlon, combining a 1.5-kilometer (1-mile) swim that starts in front of the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua … a 30-kilometer (18.6-miles) mountain bike that climbs more than 3,000 feet up and down the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains, and a 10-kilometer (6.1-miles) trail run that traverses forest trails, and beach sand. Top pros finish in roughly two-and-a-half hours.
WHO RACES IN MAUI: A sold-out field of 775 racers including 70 professionals and more than 700 amateurs representing 35 countries & 43 U.S. states, ages 14 (Ken Matsui) to 76 (Ron Hill). 92% of the field is from out of town.
WHEN: The XTERRA World Championship starts at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 27. The XTERRA Kapalua 5km and 10km trail runs are on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: At The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui’s northwest coast.
WHY: The XTERRA World Championship race is the last in a series of more than 100 off-road triathlon races held in 20 countries and 37 U.S. States. The concept is to provide a bona-fide world championship for amateur and pro off-road triathletes. For pros there is $100,000 in prize money at stake.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED: Amateurs enter the World Championship through one of two means:
1. Earn a slot by qualifying as one of the top finishers in their age group at an XTERRA Championship race in South Africa, Philippines, New Zealand, Saipan, Guam, Australia, Malaysia, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Great Britain and Alabama, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Virginia in the United States. For those “lucky-you-live-Hawaii-guys” there were two local qualifying races at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu.
2. Enter through the at large drawing - a limited number of slots were offered on a first-come first-serve basis in January.
XTERRA BACKGROUND: This is year 18 for the XTERRA World Championship on Maui – the birthplace of off-road triathlon. The first XTERRA race was held here on November 3, 1996 with just 123 participants and was televised on Fox Sports Net. The demand for the sport of XTERRA exploded thereafter and there are now more than 30,000 competitors from all 50 states and more than 40 countries worldwide.
1996: Jimmy Riccitello and Michellie Jones win inaugural event in Wailea, Maui.
1999: 11 races spanning from California to New Jersey. First year of Pro Points Series.
2000: XTERRA goes global with its first international races in England, Japan, and Canada.
2001: The first year of the XTERRA USA Championship Series.
2003: The first year of the XTERRA European Tour.
2013: Now 70 events in the U.S., plus more than 30 international races including tours in Asia-Pacific and Europe
TELEVISION: This will be the 18th straight year a nationally broadcast one-hour show will be produced on the event, which showcases Maui’s natural beauty. The 2012 XTERRA World Championship will be seen by more than four million viewers via national syndication (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) and Fox Sports Network. This year’s show will start its run in national syndication in mid-January 2014.
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Direct visitor expenditures from the 2012 XTERRA World Championship were $6.2 million. The average length of stay on Maui is 6.7 nights (8.2 nights in Hawaii), the average party size is 3.1, and 58% of the field had a household income of more than $100,000 (expenditure source: DBEDT).